Archive for May, 2007

flight of the conchords

Following from the previous entry concerning the future and putting it in perspective, I found this clip from flight of conchords, a folk/parody duo …

the smell of freshly cut grass

Today on msn I had a conversation with a friend about the future. Is there anyone that isn’t worried about it in some sort of way?

I suppose these could be the symptoms of our generation in particular, the 20-30 somethings, graduated, searching for love, or wondering what love is, disparate young professionals and on the cusp of beginning a career, or contemplating a new career.

Somehow, this feeling today is also heightened by globalisation, changing markets and increased mobility of people.

Although we are dislocated and alienated when we uproot ourselves from our home settings, our ability to combat our disparity through the internet has improved vastly; friendship databases, internet dating, skype, blogging – This help us to feel connected and re-connected in new and un-familar surroundings.

In a manner of speaking, ‘the world is your oyster’. Yet we still worry about the future more than ever, and is this because we are more in control of it or want to control it?

Perhaps its all not so bad, relatively speaking, according to Brian Holtz who sites some of the catastrophies that humans fear, in excerpts from Human Knowledge: Foundations and Limits; Humans don’t really face extinction even in the case of nuclear war, and it is unlikely that extraterrestrial intellegance will ever find Earth an attractive place to colonise.

Perhaps we should all lie back and think of the smell of freshly cut grass instead….

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The grass at Islands Brygge, Copenhagen

Distortion festival

The end of May (which so happens to be this week, oh my gosh how time flies!) is marked by the Distortion Festival in Copenhagen.

This annual five day event celebrates Copenhagen’s fashion, music, art, food, design and architecture and nightlife throughout the city at a number of locations.

That was the boring version….this is what the home page is saying:

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My name is Distortion 2007. I am 9 years old. I am the festival where Copenhagen’s party animals, freedom fighters, goofy breakers, boomboom babes, arty posers, ghetto dancers, photo shooters, smelly flashers …meet every year and go ballistic. You don’t have to be rich, don’t have to be cool– just get up and do your thing. It’s happening inside you, in circus tents, in boats, cathedrals, shawarma bars and spanky basslines. Copenhagen is a fristad! Stop crying, baby, you are hot. Time to get personal.

Hmmm ……Copenhagen City is calling!

 

Unwanted paper

There was a huge pile of junk mail covering my doorstep in Copenhagen this evening. Despite the enjoyment I get from flicking through this glossy mess every other morning, I think its time to put a ‘no junk mail’ sign out there. Unwanted from now on. It really seems pointless to produce so much of it, for such a short and limited use. Its time this kind of advertising was phased out and replaced by a more environmentally friendly one. Any Ideas?

Christobel, Joan as police woman

Here is a clip from Joan as Police woman demonstrating Joan Wasser’s lovely, smoky, sexy, funky singing

Blankets, a graphic Novel

Blankets by Craig Thompson was my first introduction to graphic novels thanks to a former work collegue who is an avid follower of this medium, and advised me on what to read.

I had expected something like a comic strip, some light-hearted entertainment and perhaps some satirical twists. However I was wrong. Instead, Blankets is a captivating and heart-renching tale that draws on experiences and emotions that we can all relate to. Blankets is inspired by Thompson’s rural Wisconsin childhood in a fundermentalist Christian family, his first love, and his early adulthood.”I wanted to tell a long, breathable story about an emotional experience and I wanted that experience to be what it’s like to sleep next to someone for the first time,” Thompson says.

Perhaps the realism was too much for some; In October 2006, a resident of Marshall, Missouri attempted to have Blankets removed from the city’s public library in view that it was unappropriate for children and could be percieved as ‘pornography’.

Graphic novels distingish themselves from comics (which are usually collections of short unrelated stories) with a stand alone plot that usually focuses on one or more, related themes. And they often lend themselves to adult audiences.

However what struck me the most about Blankets, was the extend to which pictures could tell the story. 592 pages is a lengthy read, however the words and illustrations flow easily and are perfectly balanced to captivate the reader. Thompson uses perspective and intricate weaving patterns to draw attention to the inner thoughts of his characters. Rather than repeating a standard six or eight panel format, Thompson skillfully varies his compositions in shape and size, and often oversteps the borders of the panel. Each page is a surprise and is capitivating to look at. His illustrations seem to centre around the emotion he is trying to convey at that time and he relies on pictoral means to emphasis the most poinient moments. ‘A picture can tell a thousand words’.

Graphic novels are as disparate from books as is a play or a movie. It’s a different experience entirely. Pictures carry another kind of information than words. What is most exciting is that a picture language and a word language can interweave, which can’t be done by either one alone.”
–Will Eisner

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Modest Mouse in Vega

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The American Indie-Rock band Modest Mouse is due to play at Vega in Copenhagen next month. If you have heard the tracks ‘dashboard‘, ‘fire it up‘ and ‘missed the boat‘ from their recent album ‘We were dead Before the Ship even Sank’, they probably caught your attention. Its the kind of music you listen to because it feels right.

In 2006 the guitarist Johnny Marr (from ‘The Smiths‘) joined the band co-writing songs with Issac Brock and is likely to tour with them. The American review magazine ‘Blender’ announced that they were the ’25th reason to love 2007′ in light of their most recent album. Have a listen to them on myspace and if you are sold by them, buy your tickets before they are all snapped up!

Comic to cheer up the day

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that kiwi lifestyle again

Its a rainy day in Copenhagen, but no matter….just watch this video from Shapeshifter about that idyllic Kiwi (New Zealand) lifestyle that is so relaxed and carefree. We all can be sucked up by the expectations and stress of life in general, but we can try to keep it down-to-earth. Have you ever played cricket on the beach?

Shapeshifter are originally from Christchurch, but now located in Melbourne, this is a top kiwi electronic act…you can see them in action towards the end of the video.

street fashion Copenhagen

Pulling off a stylish look in the streets of Copenhagen is no mean feat.

‘Combine combine’, thats the message on the street, its nice when things are not actually run of the mill. Stripes and checks can be worn together with fluorescent colours, and what could be percieved as incredibly ugly, can turn out to be very eyecatching and beautiful. Its all in the way you hold it, tilt your chin up and strut your stuff.

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If you want to see more of what I’m talking about, take a look through a site called ‘street fashion Copenhagen‘ that profiles some of the trendy individuals around town.

Note: Not everyone has to wear a fur-fox to look the part, thankgoodness.

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Farmers Market på Nørrebro

I like living in Nørrebro. Its where the so called ‘trendy’ meets the so called ‘under belly’ of Copenhagen, and its convenient because you can always find a green grocer open late at night.

Now there is a farmers market opening on Stefansgade which promises an assortment of vegetables, bread, meat, wine, oil, honey and more ecological produce. You can read more about it here in Danish and Tim from The Copenhagen Report writes about it here in English.

Fingers crossed that it will be along the lines of what I saw in Sicily recently (see rest of entry) 🙂

Continue reading ‘Farmers Market på Nørrebro’

opossums revealed and unravelled

The genome of the opossum has now been sequenced and this is a major accomplishment. However I bet some people are asking what silly nonsense scientists have been up to now? So perhaps a few facts about these furry creatures are in order.

 

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  • Opossums (or possums) are marcupials, meaning that they are pouched animals that give birth to relatively immature young in comparison to other mammals.

  • In Australia and North America they are mostly looked upon kindly.
  • However in New Zealand we grow up knowing that they run rampant around our country, destroying our native trees and spreading disease in livestock. The number that you find run over by vehicles on the roads is testimony to their populous (estimated 20 per person).
  • So depending on where you reside, possums are either protected or disliked with a vengance. To illustrate the later, this is a very gruesome video, ‘possum killing spree’.
  • There is even a whole industry in possum fur products from New Zealand in an effort to control this pest. Its fur is incredibly soft so that is convenient.
  • So why sequence its genome? The entire sequence of DNA and proteins of any species (bacteria, plant, animal) can tell us a great detail about evolutionary relationships. The genomic study published in Nature recently reveals that there are a features in the DNA sequence of the opossum that tell us about the functional arrangement of mammalian genomes. So we are closer to pinpointing the genetic features that make us similar or different to other animals and understanding how we evolved.

    So even if you are dubious about the relevance of the opossum genome to everyday life in general, its still nice to know a little bit more about where we come from right?

    statistics

    Danes are amongst the fastest walkers in the world, averaging at 6.08 Km/hr and second only to Singaporeans.

    Just another random statistic that was published in one of the daily newspapers in Copenhagen…. I find them quite amusing sometimes, even if there isn’t a grain of truth in them.

    Strategic packing

    It has occured to me why packing bags for a weekend away can be such a difficult chore. It requires considerable pre-meditation about ones needs. For instance, one must think of dress habits, logical color combinations, weather conditions (sun, rain, snow?), and choosing the best pair of shoes for dual comfort and style. All in advance.

    Even if you are a seasonal traveller, the most difficult thing is reducing your normal personal belongings to a few bare essentials items and then again, something is always forgotten.

    Let alone one-self, why am I complaining? My thoughts are with friends that now have young families. The task of packing up the needs of a toddler or two, is even more challenging.

    Furthermore, in view of the 100mL limit, packing must be carried out strategically, otherwise you will end up having things confiscated (like the jar of Vegemite that a friend had in her hand luggage on the way over from England). And be sure to close the lid of your tube of toothpaste before you travel, which is something I neglected last time.

    man-made beaches

    Amager strand is a man-made beach just 15 min bike ride from the centre of Copenhagen. Where once was mudflats…. there is now an expanse of carefully sculptured sand-dunes, made of fine white sand imported from somewhere, and concrete bunkers (numbered 1-4) that house toilets and icecream shops.

    As we frollic and bask in the sun’s rays, planes fly overhead to land at Kastrup airport, the Øresund bridge that spans some-what 10 Km from Denmark to Sweden appears on the horizon, and a wind farm can be seen out to sea. Its all very strange but beautifully futuristic.

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    Voom

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    A band I like very much Voom, released a new/remake album last year and I’ve just ordered it all the way from New Zealand. Its a far cry from Copenhagen but still something to ramble about, I just can’t help promoting them because it will make your ears sing. I would definitely recommend listening to the tracks they have on myspace, ‘B my boy’, ‘relax’ and ‘beautiful day’. The rest of the album is just lovely too.

    May is the month of public holidays in Denmark and tomorrow is ‘Prayer day’ where apparently it is common to eat hot bread buns and go for a walk around Christianshavn and the harbour areas in Copenhagen to hear the church bells ringing. Thats nice. I wonder if the buns are eaten just plain or with slight variations on the theme.

    ya til velfærd – nej til fattigdom

    I ventured into Fælleparken after work today to see the 1st of May celebrations in Copenhagen. A red banner on the main stage said ‘ya til velfærd – nej til fattigdom’, which my online danish to english translator translates as ‘yes to affluence – no to poor’. Hmmm. Maybe the translator has made an error there, because ‘affluence’ seems like the wrong word to associate with socialist and worker movements that support equal rights and abolishing of class systems. I mean to have affluence, someone indirectly ends up being poor too?

    Anyway, today was the unofficial beginning of spring and thousands of Copenhageners take the day off and spend it sitting in a park with a beer and a bag of peas (in their pods) to celebrate. That is the main point of it all I think.

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    ‘here I collect thoughts and images of Copenhagen, things in the news, share experiences and explore identities; the sorts of things that come to mind when you live abroad and adapt to new surroundings’

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